We in AA are men and women who have discovered, and admitted, that we cannot control alcohol. We have learned that we must live without it if we are to avoid disaster for ourselves and those close to us.
With local groups in thousands of communities, we are part of an informal international fellowship with members in more than 100 countries. We have but one primary purpose: to stay sober ourselves and to help others who may turn to us for help in achieving sobriety.
We are not reformers and we are not allied with any group, cause or religious denomination. We have no wish to to dry up the world. We do not recruit members. We avoid imposing our viewpoint on problem drinking on others, unless we are asked to do so.
Within our membership may be found men and women of varying age groups and many different social, economic and cultural backgrounds. Some of us drank for many years before coming to the realisation we could not handle alcohol. Others were fortunate enough to appreciate, early in life or in our drinking careers, that alcohol had become unmanageable.
The consequences of our alcoholic drinking (and thinking) have also varied. Some of our members had literally become derelicts before turning to AA for help. They had lost family, possessions and self-respect. They had been in the gutter in many cities. They had been hospitalised and jailed. They had committed many grave offences – against society, their families, their employers and themselves.
Others among us have never been jailed or hospitalised. Nor have they lost jobs through drinking. But even those men and women finally came to the point where they realised that alcohol was interfering with normal living. When they discovered that they could not seem to live without alcohol, they too sought help through AA rather than prolong their irresponsible drinking.
All the great faiths are represented in our fellowship and many religious leaders have encouraged our growth. There are even a few self-proclaimed atheists and agnostics among us. Belief in, or adherence to, a formal creed is not a condition of membership.
We are united by a common problem, alcohol. Meeting and talking and helping other alcoholics together, we are somehow able to stay sober and lose the compulsion to drink, once a dominant force in our lives.
We do not think we are the only people that have the answer to problem drinking. We know that the AA programme works for us and we have seen it work for every newcomer, almost without exception, who honestly and sincerely wanted to quit drinking.
Through AA we have learned a number of things about alcoholism and about ourselves. We try to keep these facts uppermost in our minds at all times because they seem to be the key to our sobriety. For us sobriety must always be our first concern.